– We hope that Norway will follow Denmark, we have been doing this for two years now, says the bare owner Adel Bonakdar.
Together with co-owner Amir Sajdin he is in Bar Mabou on Hegdehaugsveien in Oslo. The bar stools are up and the neon sign on the wall is lit, but the door hasn’t been open to guests for a long time.
In total, the bar has been open for around five months over the past two years.
– We were allowed to open at the end of May 2020 until it had to close again. Then it was completely closed until May 2021. From November there was a sudden stop, so we had to close again, says Bonakdar.
The government will hold a Corona press conference on Tuesday at 7 p.m. It has already signaled “significant relief”. There is great tension as to which measures will be lifted.
Above all, one measure is now crucial so that the bar owners can open the doors.
– We can’t open if they don’t remove the meter. It’s totally impossible. We have 35 seats but Mabou is a “rai rai place” where people come to dance. So the last two years we’ve really struggled, says the bar owner.
– Doesn’t it apply if the bar stop at 23 is removed?
– It certainly doesn’t. As long as you have to hold the meter and have seats, it’s completely impossible for us to operate. In small bars like this, there is talk of 80-90 square meters and around 30 seats, so that’s not possible, says Bonakdar.
They also believe that the requirement for seats must be abolished.
– There is no one who goes to a club or après-ski place that we run to sit in a corner and have a drink. That’s not how it works, Bonakdar believes.
– Subject to full reopening
There are few people in the Folketeaterpassasjen at Youngstorget in Oslo. Some white sheets are taped to the closed doors of the theater.
“Unfortunately, the government closure of the cultural sector is affecting our ability to perform as usual. All performances up to and including January 30 will be postponed to a later date ».
Another shutdown has hit the cultural industry hard. The majority of the industry has been forced to close while some have opted to hold performances for virtually empty seats.
– This hall here has 1402 seats. With the last rules we could only play around 400 and that doesn’t add up, says Andrea Volsdal Skirbekk, producer and operations manager at Scenekvelder.
She is fully aware of what it takes for the Folketeatert to open its doors again.
– We hope they remove the one meter rule. If they don’t, we hope they treat us the same way they treat the rest of the business world, where you can use a mask if you can’t keep your distance, says Volsdal Skirbekk.
If that doesn’t change, cultural life won’t be able to reopen, she believes.
– There are no funding programs that can compensate for the tickets that we have to reimburse. Therefore we rely on a full reopening to be able to open tomorrow, says Volsdal Skirbekk.
Though she hopes for the best, she prepares for the worst.
– We are afraid of being disappointed and that they will keep the meter and not take the industry seriously.
Volsdal Skirbekk points out that very few infections can be traced back to the culture industry. She therefore hopes that the government will show the industry the confidence that she believes it deserves.
– Did not recommend a full reopening
Deputy Director of Health Espen Rostrup Nakstad says that the Norwegian Directorate of Health did not recommend the government lift all infection control measuresk, as Denmark does.
– We have not recommended a full reopening in the sense that we will no longer have infection control measures in Norway, as the Danes are now the only country in Europe to do, says Nakstad.
– We have given a lot of advice based on a margin of maneuver that is possible without too much risk. By risk, I mean how many get infected each week and how high the sick leave is, he says.